How to Kill Ringworm
How to Get Rid of Ringworm Naturally
Ringworm is a type of fungal infection that develops on the top layer of your skin on various parts of your body. It's responsible for athlete's foot (tinea pedis), jock itch (tinea cruris) and most fungal infections of the scalp (tinea capitis).Ringworm has nothing to do with worms, although the rash it creates is circular and kind of looks like a reddish worm. It's often itchy (but not always) and spreads by skin-to-skin contact. Mainstream medicine doesn't recognize any natural cures for ringworm, although some plant-based remedies may be worth a try. If they don't work, then you can always use over-the-counter lotions or creams that contain miconazole, clotrimazole or similar anti-fungal medicine.
Trying Plant-Based Remedies
Apply tea tree oil to your rash.Tea tree oil is made from the leaves of the tea tree, which is native to Australia. It has been used for many generations as an ointment to fight all sorts of skin injuries and infections, including fungal and bacterial. According to research, tea tree oil applied to the skin is an effective remedy for ringworm, particularly athlete’s foot (tinea pedis). Topical creams with 10% tea tree oil can relieve the scaling, inflammation, itching and burning of athlete's foot, but stronger solutions (at least 25%) are needed to cure the rash.
- You may need to apply tea tree oil 3x per day for up to 4 weeks to get rid of your ringworm rash. Be warned that it has a strong odor, similar to pine trees.
- Concentrated tea tree oil solutions don't seem to be quite as effective as medicated anti-fungal creams that contain clotrimazole or terbinafine.
Consider using grapefruit seed extract.Grapefruit seed extract (GSE) is made from the seeds, pulp and white membranes of grapefruits. It has antimicrobial properties, including being a decent natural antibacterial and anti-fungal agent.GSE is sometimes used to combat Candida yeast (fungal) infections with good results, although there is no research that shows it's helpful in fighting ringworm infections. Regardless, it's safe for consuming or dabbing on the skin, so it may be worth a try.
- GSE is safe for the skin and applying to your scalp — in fact, it's a relatively common ingredient in natural shampoos. Let it soak into your scalp for at least 5 minutes before rinsing it out.
- Make your own by grinding up grapefruits and adding some glycerin, or buy from a health store that sells herbal remedies. Apply it to your ringworm rash 3-5x daily for up to a week and see if it's significantly better.
Rub fresh garlic on your skin.Garlic cloves contain a compound called allicin, which has many medicinal properties, including being a natural antibacterial and anti-fungal.There are several studies that report garlic oil / gel is helpful for treating a variety of ringworm infections, such jock itch and athlete's foot.Rub garlic oil onto your rash 3-5x daily for up to a week and gauge progress. If it's improved, but still there, continue for another week.
- Garlic oil can be made at home by crushing or pulverizing fresh garlic cloves. Alternatively, it can be purchased at a health store that sells herbal remedies.
- The downside to using fresh garlic is that it has a strong odor and it can tingle or even irritate the skin in people who are sensitive.
- Consider applying it to your athlete's foot at night, then covering your feet with socks to prevent it from rubbing off onto your sheets.
Take a bath with borax.Borax powder, also called sodium borate, is commonly used as a laundry detergent and insecticide. It's essential a salt compound of boric acid and a rich source of the mineral boron. Borax has many uses and properties, including being a strong anti-fungal.It's used to treat Candida infections of the skin, so it may also be effective for ringworm. Add a few cups of borax powder to a bath and soak your entire body for 15-20 minutes. If you are combating athlete's foot, then add a teaspoon or two to a warm foot bath.
- Powdered borax consists of soft white crystals that easily dissolve in water. It has a very mild chemical odor and doesn't irritate the skin.
- Make a more concentrated solution (or paste) and apply it to the ringworm infection on your scalp. Let it soak in for at least 5 minutes before rinsing.
- Boric acid can decrease libido and sperm count in men —men should limit their exposure.
Try apple cider vinegar.You can use apple cider vinegar topically or ingest it to treat ringworm. It has antibacterial properties that may help get rid of ringworm. Dilute the vinegar with 1 cup of water per every teaspoon. Apply it to the rash using a cotton swab or cotton ball two to three times a day.
- If you choose to ingest it, try 1 teaspoon of vinegar in 1 cup of water twice daily.
Use black walnut.The active ingredient in black walnut (juglone) is an effective antifungal. Black walnut also contains tannins, which is an anti-fungal as well.
- Apply a black walnut tincture to the rash three times daily.
- Avoid black walnut if you have liver or kidney disease or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Apply iodine to the rash.Iodine is an antiseptic that kills bacteria an may also kill the fungus responsible for ringworm. Buy an iodine solution with 2% iodine but no higher or it may irritate your skin. Once you have cleansed the area with soap and water, apply the iodine to the area using a cotton swab or cotton ball.
- You can apply three times daily but iodine should not be used for longer than 10 days.
Experiment with colloidal silver.Silver solutions and compounds have a long and documented history of killing microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. Before the discovery of penicillin, silver preparations were common and widely praised by medical doctors. Colloidal silver solutions are tasteless and odorless and contain clusters of silver atoms suspended in distilled water. Silver is deadly to some fungi and yeast, although there's no research on its effectiveness against ringworm.Given its long track record and excellent safety profile, it's worth experimenting with.
- Colloidal silver can be purchased at most health food stores. Get solutions that contain between 5-10 parts per million (ppm) of silver — stronger solutions are not any more effective, but they're more expensive.
- You can dab or spray the silver onto your rash 3-5x daily for a couple of weeks before deciding how effective it is.
- It's easy to make colloidal silver at home and save money, although the equipment costs between -100 USD to get started.
- Ingesting too much colloidal silver can turn your skin blue, but you would need to ingest at least two to four grams for this to happen.
Using Hygiene and Prevention
Keep your skin clean and dry.Ringworm often spreads by direct skin-to-skin contact with infected people.Thus, it makes sense to keep your skin clean so the fungus isn't able to flourish and burrow into your skin. Fungi also like moisture and darkness, so drying your skin is important, particularly your feet after taking a shower. Regular bathing with soap and water is usually enough to avoid ringworm infections.
- Always wear foot protection (slippers or thongs) when showering in public places, such as the local gym or swimming pool, in order to prevent athlete's foot.
- After reproducing on your skin, ringworm fungi burrows deeper and forms a flat scaly area, which may be red and itchy.The patch then develops a slightly raised border that expands into a circular ring.
Wash clothes, sheets and towels regularly.Ringworm also spreads by coming into contact with infected clothes, bedding and toiletries.Therefore, if you think you've come into contact with someone with a ringworm infection, make sure to wash your clothes immediately. If your partner has a fungal infection, then regularly wash your bedding and towels to reduce your risk of getting it.
- Wash your clothes, bedding and towels with borax powder in hot water in order to kill fungi effectively. Chlorine bleach and benzalkonium chloride are also good fungicides.
- Avoid sharing personal items such as your clothes, shoes, towels and hairbrushes to reduce your risk of ringworm.
Avoid touching pets with bald spots.Ringworm also spreads by direct skin-to-skin contact with infected pets and other animals.Most commonly, the fungi spreads while petting or grooming your dogs or cats — it's also relatively common among cows and some other farm animals. As such, avoid touching pets or other animals that have the telltale sign of ringworm: bald spots without hair. The skin will also appear flaky, red and irritated.
- You should always wash your hands after touching your pets or other animals, especially before eating and going to bed.
- Sleeping with your pets is especially risky for getting ringworm and other skin conditions due to the proximity.
- If you know your pet has ringworm, wear latex gloves and long sleeves when handling them and regularly vacuum the areas of your home they frequent.
QuestionDo bed sheets make the rash worse?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo. Rubbing and scratching it makes the rash worse and spreads it, as well as skin-to-skin contact. Regularly wash your sheets, use a bleach in addition to soap, wash in hot water and dry on high. Do the same thing for your clothes. You could also buy an antibacterial additive to add to the washer.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the best remedy for ringworm?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThe best natural remedy is tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, and salt and vinegar, applied at least 3 times a day. You should see a difference in a few days.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I do if I just found out that the man I have had an intimate relationship with has had jock itch and ringworm for forty years but failed to tell me?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerUnless he managed to pass either of those things onto you, then I don't really see a reason to do anything other than maybe letting him know how upset you are that he didn't tell you.Thanks!
Can urine heal ringworm?
When I put garlic on it, does it normally hurt after?
My ringworms are spreading fast and I don't know what to do?
Can I use yellow curry powder on ringworm?
If you need to get rid of ringworm naturally, apply a topical cream containing at least 25% tea tree oil to your rash 3 times a day for up to 4 weeks. This is especially useful for the form of ringworm that causes athlete’s foot. If the ringworm is on your scalp, apply grapefruit seed extract to the rash and let it soak in for about 5 minutes, then rinse it out. Repeat this 3-5 times a day for a week. Other natural treatments you can apply to your skin include diluted apple cider vinegar, colloidal silver, or a tincture made of black walnut.
- Athlete’s foot (tinea pedis) and jock itch (tinea cruris) can usually be treated with over-the-counter anti-fungal creams, lotions or powders applied directly to the skin for between 2-4 weeks.Common anti-fungal medicines include clotrimazole, miconazole, terbinafine and ketoconazole.
- Ringworm of the scalp (tinea capitis) is more difficult to treat and usually requires prescription anti-fungals, such as griseofulvin, itraconazole or fluconazole, taken by mouth for between 1-3 months.Medicated creams, lotions or powders rarely seem to work on scalp infections.
- Contact your doctor if your rash does not improve after 4 weeks of self-care.
Sources and Citations
- Jonas, Ludwig et al. "Detection of Silver Sulfide Deposits in the Skin of Patients with Argyria After Long-term Use of Silver-containing Drugs." Ultrastructural Pathology. Issue 31. pp. 379-384. 2007
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